INCREASES in prices for some crops will help boost the value of Australian farm production to $58.5 billion next financial year.
This is up from the $54 billion forecast this time last year for 2015-16.
According to the quarterly Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences agricultural commodity report, released today, agriculture will next year be valued about 12 per cent higher than the average value for the past five years.
ABARES executive director Karen Schneider said a favourable start to the season, firm export demand and forecast increases in the production of key crop commodities supported the positive outlook.
“In 2016-17, the gross value of crop production is set to increase to $28.6 billion and this is being driven by forecast rises in the value of sugar, cotton and horticulture production,” Ms Schneider said.
“After rising by 10.9 per cent in 2015-16, the gross value of livestock production is forecast to remain at around $29.8 billion in 2016-17.”
However, the total value of export earnings from farm commodities is forecast to decrease by 2.5 per cent to $43 billion in 2016-17.
The report found most livestock commodities will experience an increase in prices in 2016-17.
Projections for beef and veal sales show a 2 per cent increase for 2016-17 to 517c/kg carcass weight.
Strong restocker demand is forecast to limit cattle turn-off, placing upwards pressure on beef-cattle saleyard prices despite increase competition in key export markets.
Sheepmeat sales are forecast to increase by 5 per cent to 550c/kg carcass weight for 2016-17. Lamb prices are projected to increase, reflecting reduced slaughter, as producers rebuild flocks, and firmer export demand.
Wool sales are also expected to increase with the report forecasting a 4 per cent increase for the Australian Eastern Market Indicator, which is expected to hit 1300c/kg in 2016-17, reflecting limited growth in global wool production set against firmer export demand.
But the farmgate milk price is forecast to fall by 2 per cent to 42c/l in 2016-17, reflecting reductions in global dairy prices.
The report found promising projections for the Australian cherry industry.
Cherry exports reached a record $48 million in 2014-15, up from $14 million in 2010-11, due to improved growing conditions and increased demand from Asia.
“Favourable airfreight charges to Asian markets give Australian cherries a competitive advantage over other southern hemisphere exporters,” the report said.
“Tasmania has fruit-fly-free status, unlike the rest of Australia, which facilitates its airfreight market access to China.”
Tasmanian cherries earned a premium price and the average export unit value of Tasmanian cherries was $17.34 a kilogram in 2014-15, compared with $11.46/kg for cherries from other states and territories.
And while fresh vegetables exports have been relatively low since 2011-12, some vegetables had expanded rapidly.
Between 2013-14 and 2014-15 the value of brussels sprout and celery exports grew by 189 per cent and 89 per cent, respectively, after a period of relatively low export value since 2006-07.
“Increased demand from Asia combined with the depreciation of the Australian dollar strengthened export competitiveness,” the report said.
“Exports of brussels sprouts in particular have benefited from sustained high prices, averaging $4.86/kg in the three years to 2014-15 compared with $2.48/kg averaged over 1999-2000 to 2011-12.”
GRAINS AND OILSEEDS
The report said the world wheat indicator price was forecast to be the lowest in 15 years in real terms, reflecting ample world wheat supplies.
The price was expected to fall 10 per cent to $US190 a tonne.
World oilseed indicator prices are forecast to average higher as a result of an expected fall in world stocks.
Prices are expected to increase 8 per cent to $US400 a tonne in 2016-17.